Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner 1: Tuscan Bean Stew and Garlic Bread
Game Plan: Preheat your oven and start preparing the stew. Once the stew is simmering, prep the garlic bread. Once the rosemary is added to the stew, bake the garlic bread.
Quick Hearty Tuscan Bean Stew is a simple, hearty, one-pot dinner fortified with garlic and rosemary. There are a couple of ingredients that can be substituted to suit what you have on hand. Pancetta may be traditional, but bacon is fine, as is Italian sausage. No cannellini beans? Most types of canned beans will work here; some of our favorites are great Northern, navy, and pinto. Parmesan and Asiago Cheese Garlic Bread starts with toasting the garlic, which helps to mellow its flavor. We like a 50:50 blend of Asiago and Parmesan, but feel free to use just one or the other or another hard grating cheese, like Pecorino Romano. A loaf of supermarket Italian bread, which has a soft, thin crust and a fine crumb, works best here.
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Dinner 2: Thai-Style Chicken with Basil and Sautéed Baby Bok Choy
Game Plan: Prep the chicken through step 2. While the chicken stands, prep the bok choy through step 1. Cook the chicken, then wipe out the skillet and sauté the bok choy.
10-Inch Chef's KnifeOur favorite chef’s knife features an 8-inch blade. Can a knife with a larger blade make prepping food easier?
Dinner 3: Broiled Spice-Rubbed Snapper and Quinoa Pilaf
Game Plan: Start by salting the fish. While the fish stands, toast the quinoa and then cook the pilaf. As the pilaf simmers, mix the spice paste for the fish, but don't broil it until the quinoa is fully cooked.
To maximize the flavor of the spices in Broiled Spice-Rubbed Snapper, we hydrate ancho chile powder, ground coriander, granulated garlic, dried oregano, and cayenne and black peppers in a couple tablespoons of boiling water to bring out their water-soluble flavors. Then we add oil, which, when heated, blooms the oil-soluble flavors. To develop nuttiness in our Quinoa Pilaf with Chipotle, Queso Fresco, and Peanuts, we toast the grains in a dry skillet before adding liquid. We then season the pilaf with boldly flavored chipotle chiles and cumin.